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Creating a Giant Robot Walking in a Live Action Scene: Part 5

Preview


1. Project Setting in After Effects

Step 1

Open After Effects

Open After Effects
Open After Effects

Step 2

I have a live action
footage which I have imported in After Effects. This is the footage which will
be used as the background footage to composite with the robot animation.

 Live action footage
Live action footage

Step 3

With the background
footage layer selected, go to Animation > Track Camera

Animation  Track Camera
Animation > Track Camera

Step 4

The 3D Camera Tracker
system starts analyzing the footage to get good tracking points. It usually
takes a couple of minutes.

3D Camera Tracker system
3D Camera Tracker system

Step 5

When the tracking
completes, you can see several tracking points in the scene. 

Tracking points
Tracking points

Step 6

With several tracking
points selected, make a right mouse click and select Create Null and Camera
as shown in the following image.

Create Null and Camera
Create Null and Camera

Step 7

You get a null object
and 3D camera in the timeline. This null object is the placeholder and sticks
with the footage and follows the camera.

Null object and 3D camera
Null object and 3D camera

Step 8

You can play with the
rotation values of the null object to keep its Y axis upwards.

 Rotation values
Rotation values

2. Exporting
Camera Data to 3ds Max

Step 1

You can find a free
script AE3D for After Effects in www.aenhancer.com. Download this
script and paste it in the Script folder of After Effects.
Now restart After Effects.

AE3D Script
AE3D Script

Step 2

Open the same composition again. With the null
object and 3d camera layers selected, go to File > Script >
AE3D_Export.jsx
.

File  Script  AE3D_Exportjsx
File > Script > AE3D_Export.jsx

Step 3

In the AE3D window, select the 3ds Max option, set
the file name to camera tracker.ms
and then click on Export. It saves the 3ds Max script file on the
desktop.

Export the script
Export the script

3. Creating Scene in 3ds Max

Step 1

Open 3ds Max.

Open 3ds Max
Open 3ds Max

Step 2

Go to MAXScript >
Run Script
.

MAXScript  Run Script
MAXScript > Run Script

Step 3

Browse for the camera
track.ms
script which was exported
from After Effects. Select the script and click on Open.

Browse for the camera trackms script
Browse for the camera track.ms script

Step 4

After running the
script, you get a 3d camera and one dummy in the scene.

A 3d camera and one dummy
A 3d camera and one dummy

Step 5

Jump in the perspective
view and press C key for the camera view.

The camera view
The camera view

Step 6

Right now the camera is
upside down. You need to correct the coordinate of camera.

Correct the coordinate of camera
Correct the coordinate of camera

Step 7

With the dummy and the camera selected together, go to Group >
Group
and create group.

Create a group
Create a group

Step 8

Jump in the left
viewport. Select the Rotate tool and rotate the group to the right side.
The goal should be to put the dummy on the grid line. 

Adjust the dummy a
little bit more to make it straight. 

Rotate the group
Rotate the group

Step 9

Jump in the camera view.
Press Alt-B keys to open the Viewport Configuration window. Turn
on Use Files and Animate Background options. Click on Files.

Viewport Configuration window
Viewport Configuration window

Step 10

Select the BG Footage image and click on Open.

Select the BG Footage
Select the BG Footage

Step 11

Turn on the Show Safe Frame option in
the camera view. Alternatively, you can press Shift-F keys. 

You can
put any 3d dummy object in the scene and put it on the grid around the dummy. I
have put a box in the scene and you can see it follows the camera movement. 

Show Safe Frame
Show Safe Frame

4. Compositing Robot Animation

Step 1

In the last part of the tutorial, I have shown you how
to animate the robot on a floor. So, now you can import the robot in the scene
and animate it here. Or if you have already animated the robot, you just need
to merge the robot animation file in this max scene.

Merge the robot animation
Merge the robot animation

Step 2

Put a plane beneath the robot. Apply Matte
Shadow
on to the plane. 

Matte Shadow
Matte Shadow

Step 3

Create
a light as shown in the following image.

Create a light
Create a light

Step 4

Create a dome using sphere and apply the background
footage onto it. 

Create a dome
Create a dome

Step 5

Render the sequence and you will get the diffuse
pass as shown in the following image.

Render the sequence
Render the sequence

Step 6

You can also render the ambient occlusion pass
which is required for contact shadow effect during compositing.

Render the ambient occlusion pass
Render the ambient occlusion pass

Step 7

Now you can composite the diffuse and ambient
occlusion passes together to get the final composited effect as shown in the
following image.

Composite the diffuse and ambient occlusion passes
Composite the diffuse and ambient occlusion passes